How to get ripe fig earlier?

Here’s a time-tested method that has been employed for hundreds of years to expedite the ripening of figs. I have successfully used this method, and it allowed me to harvest figs about 1-2 weeks earlier than the usual season. Several fig growers have harnessed this technique, enabling them to offer fresh figs for sale two weeks ahead of the typical fig season.

To begin, select a fig that is nearly full size. Take a piece of cotton and saturate it with olive oil. Gently rub a small amount of olive oil onto the chosen fig. Initially, I experimented with just one fig to observe the results. This method is particularly effective for the breba crop, which constitutes the first crop of the Vista variety.

After only 2 days, the fig treated with olive oil appeared noticeably larger and had darkened in color.


Fast forward 6 days from when the fig was first rubbed with oil, and it’s now ready for harvesting. When applying the oil, be sure to do so very lightly. This method can be applied to both the breba and the main crop, but timing is crucial. Ensure that you treat figs that haven’t yet reached their full, attainable size, typically when they are about 2-3 weeks away from complete ripeness. This technique is most effective during the heat of the summer. Applying oil during the fall or in cooler weather will not yield the same results.

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  • I tried this with a toothpick right where the opening of the fig is but it did not work.
    what did I do wrong ? can I perhaps cover a few with a paper bag with holes to keep the heat in ?

    • As you see in the photo, you’ll have to use a piece of cutting to rub the oil on the skin around the opening and not toothpick as you stated. It has to be done while it’s still warm out like now beginning of august.

  • Like you mentioned this method was applied in very ancient times.
    However, at least in France, farmers used to simply insert one drop of olive olive oil into the ostiole of the fig. I did not try it myself, but I read this in many books and forums.

  • Hi Bass what is the fig verity that you are showing how to ripen a fig with olive oil Please. Regards Frank Portelli.

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